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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Development and Use of Mite Resistance Traits in Honey Bee Breeding

Location: Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Research

Title: Varroa destructor: research avenues towards sustainable control

Authors
item Danka, Robert
item Rinderer, Thomas
item Spivak, Marla -
item Kefuss, John -

Submitted to: Journal of Apicultural Research
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: December 8, 2012
Publication Date: April 1, 2013
Citation: Danka, R.G., Rinderer, T.E., Spivak, M., Kefuss, J. 2013. Varroa destructor: research avenues towards sustainable control. Journal of Apicultural Research. 52(2):69-71.

Interpretive Summary: A recent review article about sustainable control of Varroa mites implies that little progress has been made in developing and applying honey bees that have genetic resistance to mites. Here we explain some of the successes that have resulted from research into genetic resistance. We point out that there is good knowledge of a specific behavior of bees (hygienic activity) that renders resistance, but also that selecting “blindly” for low mite populations has produced resistant bees in the USA (Russian honey bees) and in France (Kefuss bees). We relate that there is documented of acceptance of resistant bees (Minnesota Hygienic, Russian and VSH bees) by US beekeepers, and that these bees have been sustainable for about a decade in some beekeeping programs. We expect that adoption of resistance technology will increase at rates typical for new agricultural technology. In sum, we suggest that resistant honey bees strains currently are a valuable resource that beekeepers are using successfully, and so beekeepers are in fact moving toward the ideal of sustainable Varroa control.

Technical Abstract: A recent review article about sustainable control of Varroa mites implies that little progress has been made in developing and applying honey bees that have genetic resistance to mites. Here we explain some of the successes that have resulted from research into genetic resistance In sum, we suggest that resistant honey bees strains currently are a valuable resource that beekeepers are using successfully, and so beekeepers are in fact moving toward the ideal of sustainable Varroa control.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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